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Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case: Madras HC modifies order in petition seeking premature release of convicts

Court rejects petition by Nalini and Ravichandran, deletes portion of previous order dated June 17

Sabrangindia 01 Jul 2022

Rajiv GandhiImage Courtesy: newindianexpress.com

On June 28, 2022, the Madras High Court modified its order rejecting a petition by Nalini, one of the seven convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, for premature release without the consent of the Governor under Article 161 of the Indian Constitution.

The Madras High Court’s first bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N Mala on June 28, 2022 modified the order as prayed for. The petition by another convict, Ravichandran, for premature release without the consent of the Governor was also rejected by the court. The home secretary said the premature release fell within the ambit of Article 161 of the Constitution, and the same was in the exclusive domain of the State government. Therefore, it was the Governor who could exercise the power to remit the sentence of life imprisonment based on the Cabinet resolution dated September 9, 2018. The contention, however, was recorded as if the reference made by the Governor to the President was correct and Governor had rightly done it, he pointed out.

Another contentious point related to the conviction of Nalini under 302 of the IPC and other Acts. The home secretary said no such submission had been made on behalf of the department and the same had been recorded inadvertently. He sought the removal of the inadvertent observations from the order, reported The Indian Express.

Madras High Court's Modification

The first bench of the Madras High Court on June 28, 2022 modified and deleted a portion of its June 17, 2022 order relating to Advocate-General R Shanmugasundaram’s submissions in Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict Nalini Sriharan’s petition seeking premature release without the consent of the Tamil Nadu Governor. The bench of Chief Justice M N Bhandari and Justice N Mala, deleted this portion of its judgment delivered on June 17, 2022.

The Madras HC on June 28, 2022 Wednesday had then held the writ plea of Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts in the case and serving life term (presently on parole) to order her premature release without the consent of the State Governor, was not maintainable. The bench was conceding the plea of the Joint Secretary of the State Home department, seeking modification of the June 17 order by deleting certain observations in paragraph Nos.11, 13 and 21, insofar as it related to the observations of the petitioner’s contention that the mercy petition filed by Nalini was rightly referred by the then Governor to the President of India.

The Petitioner said that such a submission was not made on behalf of the Home Department and the same seems to have been inadvertently recorded in the order. The issue squarely fell within the ambit of Article 161 of the Constitution and the same is in the exclusive domain of the State government. Hence, it is the Governor who can exercise the power to remit the sentence of life imprisonment based on the resolution passed in the Cabinet Meeting held on September 9, 2018. It appears that certain observations regarding the contention of the petitioners herein have been inadvertently recorded to the effect that the reference made by the Governor to the President, is correct, the petition added.

Madras High Court’s June 17, 2022 Order

The Madras high court on date June 17, 2022 Friday, held that the writ plea of Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and serving life term (presently on parole), to order her premature release even without the consent of the Tamil Nadu governor is not maintainable. The plea was not maintainable as the previous ones -- two writ petitions and the last one a habeas corpus petition, all on the same issue -- had been dismissed on various occasions. Her prayer for release by the government on its own pursuant to the recommendation of the council of ministers cannot thus be directed. The release cannot be directed even by the court in the absence of the acceptance of the resolution by the governor. The recommendation of the council of ministers has otherwise been sent to the President.

“Thus, for the reasons aforesaid, the directions sought by the petitioner cannot be given by the court, as it otherwise does not have power similar to what the Apex Court has under Article 142 of the Constitution. For the foregoing reasons, the writ petition is dismissed as not maintainable,” the first bench of Chief Justice M N Bhandari and Justice N Mala said, reported Hindustan Times.

Nalini and Rajiv Gandhi Assassination

Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Nalini and six other people were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. In May 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber during an election rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. The attack also left 14 other people dead.

Related:

SC grants bail to A.G. Perarivalan convicted for aiding Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination
I firmly believe there is no need for capital punishment: AG Perarivalan

Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case: Madras HC modifies order in petition seeking premature release of convicts

Court rejects petition by Nalini and Ravichandran, deletes portion of previous order dated June 17

Rajiv GandhiImage Courtesy: newindianexpress.com

On June 28, 2022, the Madras High Court modified its order rejecting a petition by Nalini, one of the seven convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, for premature release without the consent of the Governor under Article 161 of the Indian Constitution.

The Madras High Court’s first bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N Mala on June 28, 2022 modified the order as prayed for. The petition by another convict, Ravichandran, for premature release without the consent of the Governor was also rejected by the court. The home secretary said the premature release fell within the ambit of Article 161 of the Constitution, and the same was in the exclusive domain of the State government. Therefore, it was the Governor who could exercise the power to remit the sentence of life imprisonment based on the Cabinet resolution dated September 9, 2018. The contention, however, was recorded as if the reference made by the Governor to the President was correct and Governor had rightly done it, he pointed out.

Another contentious point related to the conviction of Nalini under 302 of the IPC and other Acts. The home secretary said no such submission had been made on behalf of the department and the same had been recorded inadvertently. He sought the removal of the inadvertent observations from the order, reported The Indian Express.

Madras High Court's Modification

The first bench of the Madras High Court on June 28, 2022 modified and deleted a portion of its June 17, 2022 order relating to Advocate-General R Shanmugasundaram’s submissions in Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict Nalini Sriharan’s petition seeking premature release without the consent of the Tamil Nadu Governor. The bench of Chief Justice M N Bhandari and Justice N Mala, deleted this portion of its judgment delivered on June 17, 2022.

The Madras HC on June 28, 2022 Wednesday had then held the writ plea of Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts in the case and serving life term (presently on parole) to order her premature release without the consent of the State Governor, was not maintainable. The bench was conceding the plea of the Joint Secretary of the State Home department, seeking modification of the June 17 order by deleting certain observations in paragraph Nos.11, 13 and 21, insofar as it related to the observations of the petitioner’s contention that the mercy petition filed by Nalini was rightly referred by the then Governor to the President of India.

The Petitioner said that such a submission was not made on behalf of the Home Department and the same seems to have been inadvertently recorded in the order. The issue squarely fell within the ambit of Article 161 of the Constitution and the same is in the exclusive domain of the State government. Hence, it is the Governor who can exercise the power to remit the sentence of life imprisonment based on the resolution passed in the Cabinet Meeting held on September 9, 2018. It appears that certain observations regarding the contention of the petitioners herein have been inadvertently recorded to the effect that the reference made by the Governor to the President, is correct, the petition added.

Madras High Court’s June 17, 2022 Order

The Madras high court on date June 17, 2022 Friday, held that the writ plea of Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and serving life term (presently on parole), to order her premature release even without the consent of the Tamil Nadu governor is not maintainable. The plea was not maintainable as the previous ones -- two writ petitions and the last one a habeas corpus petition, all on the same issue -- had been dismissed on various occasions. Her prayer for release by the government on its own pursuant to the recommendation of the council of ministers cannot thus be directed. The release cannot be directed even by the court in the absence of the acceptance of the resolution by the governor. The recommendation of the council of ministers has otherwise been sent to the President.

“Thus, for the reasons aforesaid, the directions sought by the petitioner cannot be given by the court, as it otherwise does not have power similar to what the Apex Court has under Article 142 of the Constitution. For the foregoing reasons, the writ petition is dismissed as not maintainable,” the first bench of Chief Justice M N Bhandari and Justice N Mala said, reported Hindustan Times.

Nalini and Rajiv Gandhi Assassination

Nalini Sriharan, one of the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Nalini and six other people were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. In May 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber during an election rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. The attack also left 14 other people dead.

Related:

SC grants bail to A.G. Perarivalan convicted for aiding Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination
I firmly believe there is no need for capital punishment: AG Perarivalan

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